Uzbeks: a one-para article
I HAD long wanted to write an article which wouldn’t go beyond one paragraph. What editor would publish a two-and-a-half-line ‘article’? The intended paragraph was: if Uzbek militants are keen on waging a jihad and conquering the world, what are they doing in Pakistan? Why don’t they go back to their country to begin their jihad from Uzbekistan? After all, charity begins at home.
Luckily, another sentence sprouted: shouldn’t Osama bin Laden’s deputy and now head of Al Qaeda, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, go back to Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood has achieved power by democratic means? What is he doing in the Pakistani mountains — or Abbottabad?
Zawahiri has officially declared war on Pakistan. Isn’t Egypt more deserving of a jihad, because Cairo (unlike Islamabad) has diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv, and thousands of Israeli tourists visit Egypt each year and go nightclubbing? So Zawahiri’s first priority should be to sort out Mohamed Morsi and Egypt as he is sorting out Pakistan and Pakistanis. Or as an Egyptian would he hate to spill Egyptian blood?
A letter found on the body of a Dagestani militant killed in the ‘jihad’ on the Peshawar airport and airbase last week said it is obligatory to kill infidels. Agreed. But why didn’t the fighter from north Caucasus kill Dagestani kafirs before turning his guns on the kafirs that we Pakistanis are?
The question then stretches, for the query asked of Zawahiri, Uzbeks and the Dagestani could be put to all those foreign militants who have made Pakistan their homes for the honourable and highly moral purpose of killing Pakistanis, spreading terror and thereby inflicting one defeat after another on America.
Let us go back to Uzbekistan, where Islam Karimov, the Soviet-era dictator, allegedly dunks his dissidents in boiling water. This form of torture, which escaped Reichsfuhrer Himmler’s mind, would have remained unknown, but for a mother who wrote to a British diplomat whose report to his government found its way into the media and shocked the world. Uzbekistan doesn’t have anything even remotely resembling a free press or opposition parties. That’s why Uzbek ‘mujahids’ come to Pakistan. If ever that Central Asian country had an Oxford-educated hero who combined deadly outswingers with perforating barbs at Comrade Karimov’s policy he would know for the first time in his life what boiling water is.
The Uzbeks and other foreign militants enjoy immense advantages in Pakistan. A section of the media, politicians and civil society try to justify their killings; imams in Friday sermons either skip the subject or lend indirect support to them, and, above all, the terrorists have secret apologists in the judiciary and the armed forces, especially, it seems, the air force.
Money and arms are no problem — both are in plenty — and their Pakistani hideouts are more well-defended than PNS Mehran and GHQ. Above all, the militants do not get flak because some immature minds in the media have yet to grasp the relationship between state, society, human rights and Bentham’s “greatest good for the greatest number”.
Why would Uzbeks or Zawahiri go back to their countries? Pakistan has all one can hope for to kill and sow terror and be applauded.
The writer is a staff member.